Frostmourne makes first start of year in Woodhaven; Bluegrass Flag returns in Park Avenue
by Brian Bohl and Najja Thompson
Green Lantern Stables' Frostmourne will look to make a strong 2017 debut in Saturday's third running of the $100,000 Woodhaven for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Carded as Race 3, the Woodhaven will feature Frostmourne's first start since winning the Awad by 3 ½-lengths on October 29 at Belmont Park. Fresh off a nearly six-month break, the Kentucky homebred will make his first career start at Aqueduct looking to win at the Woodhaven distance for the first time since breaking his maiden on September 3 at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Frostmourne drew post 5 and will have the services of jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who entered Wednesday as the Aqueduct spring meet's leading rider.
Bird's Eye View won his first turf start on August 20 at Monmouth Park before finishing third in a pair of graded stakes: the Grade 2 With Anticipation at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland to cap his 2-year-old campaign. After finishing out of the money in his last two starts, the Michael Dini-trainee will look to rebound in drawing post 3. Jockey Rajiv Maragh will have the call for the first time.
The Irish-bred Royal by Nature will also make his first start of the year. Trained by Brad Cox, Royal by Nature, who is 2-1-0 in four career starts, will also be running for the first time since his runner-up effort in the Awad. The only time Royal by Nature has not finished on the board was in the Grade 3 Bourbon, when he was second in the stretch before finishing fourth. Angel Arroyo will ride from post 6.
Rounding out the field is Secretary at War, who broke his maiden in his third start at on March 25 Gulfstream Park, and will depart post 4 with Junior Alvarado; and Shamsaan, who broke his maiden on December 10 at Gulfstream Park before having to be pulled up in the Grade 2 Holy Bully on February 17. Kendrick Carmouche will ride from post 1.
A pair of Todd Pletcher trainees - Bonus Points and Outplay - are main-track only entrants.
Five races later, seven New York-bred fillies will compete in the 24th running of the $100,000 Park Avenue, part of New York Stallion Series, at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.
Highlighting the field is Bluegrass Flag, for owners Vincent Fusaro and Thomas Albrecht. Under the care of trainer Tom Morley, the daughter of Bluegrass Cat broke her maiden in her second career start and followed with a runner-up finish in the Franklin Square on February 19. Last out, she ran impressively on March 25 to win the Cicada by six lengths, recording a field-high 87 Beyer Speed Figure.
Drawing post 6, Bluegrass Flag will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche.
In search of her third consecutive victory is Dublin Girl for Joemar Racing Stables and trainer Dominick Schenttino. In her most recent start on January 29 at Aqueduct, she earned her first stakes win in the Maddie May. Set to depart from post 5, Maragh will be in the irons.
Looking to make her first start in New York and second career start overall is Noble Freud. A progeny of Freud and trained by William Fires for Xpress Thoroughbreds, Noble Freud made her debut on February 16 at Oaklawn Park, where she bested a field of nine, breaking her maiden to win by six lengths. Ortiz Jr. will ride from post 4.
Rounding out the field is Toni Tools, trained by Pletcher for MeB Racing Stables and St. Elias Stables, who will be looking to rebound off fifth-place finish in the Franklin Square; Frosty Gal, for trainer Barclay Tagg and Saratoga Stable, who enters after breaking her maiden last out in her third career start; Unbridledadventure, for Brian and Kerry Novak and trainer Michelle Nevin; and Karen Kan, who will leave from the outside with Junior Alvarado.